Thursday, 19 November 2009

Leaf it at that

Last year my mum gave me half a dozen bags full of leaves that she had collected from her garden. I have left these rotting away in their bags in the hope that it will make nice leaf mould to spread on the raspberry bed this winter.

To be honest I had completely forgotten about these bags until yesterday and to my surprise inside all the bags is the most lovely rich moist leaf mould that I have ever been able to achieve. Normally it is just a horrible sludge and is a bit smelly.

The raspberry bed has been weeded and it now has a 3" thick coat of leaf mould to see it through the winter. This will nourish the ground and give the raspberries a good start for (hopefully) a bumper crop next year.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Chilli Success

This is the first year that we have grown chillies from seed successfully. In the past we only managed to get one or two plants with some sad looking chillies on them, but this year we have had a lot of success.

I think the trick is to start them off as early as you can so they have as long a growing season as possible, and if you have a sunny summer (!) then so much the better. We grew various varieties, Pinocchio's Nose, Cherry Bomb, Heatwave and Hungarian. They were started off in January and nurtured in the greenhouse until May when they were hardened off for about 2 weeks before planting out in the allotment. For extra protection against the wind, we stapled some plastic sheeting onto bean poles and secured them in the ground. It seems to have done the trick because as you can see from the photo we have had a good harvest from just 4 plants, and there are more chillies yet to pick.